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Thursday, August 13, 2015

You are not a mess, you are mine

My kitchen sink is FULL of dishes. There are weeks worth of clean/clean-ish clothes piled on my dresser, and my suitcase from our trip last week is still full of clothes. I was late for Mia's orientation day today and got called out for it by some random administrator (because apparently tardiness is just not tolerated in four year olds on their not-even-real-first-day. Whatever.), and I even tanked at my own blogging challenge.

As I walked into my dirty kitchen with the intention to get a drink and then walk right back out, dishes untouched, to play with the baby, I heaved a huge sigh as loads of negative thoughts flooded my mind in an instant: "You are such a mess. You can't do anything right. You still can't get this time management thing down. What do you DO with all your time?! Your husband is gonna be ticked..." And on and on. But through all that noise I heard Truth speak, "Don't talk like that about My beloved child! You are my beloved daughter. You are not a mess, you are Mine."

He's speaking to you too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A baby story: the Adam issue

This blog is hanging on by an umbilical chord. Giant winky face.

My whole pregnancy with Adam I compared to my pregnancy with Olivia especially since my due dates were basically identical; November 29 with Livi and December 1 with Little Man. In addition to analyzing queasiness, butt size, and belly shape, in the last several weeks I obsessively contrasted my early labor signs. With Olivia I progressed nicely and steadily over the last few weeks of pregnancy- 1 and 50%, 2 and 75%, 3 and 75%... so I was expecting the same with this baby. I had heard that the third one is often the wild card, but I just didn't think much about what that might look like. This time I was 1 and "thick" at 36 weeks, 1 and thick at 37, 1 and thick at 38, and hardly having any contractions, Braxton-Hicks or otherwise. My OB planned to strip my membranes at 39 weeks, but I was still a 1 at that appointment and the nurse I saw didn't do it. I remember standing at the gas pump after that appointment thinking, "I'm never gonna have this baby."

Between the girls' birthdays and parties, Christmas parties and programs, and major feast days our early December calendar was full, so Caleb and I (ok, mostly I) poured and prayed over our agenda and hesitantly scheduled an induction for Thursday, December 4. I felt guilty for booting the baby for "convenience", but we also felt like it was the best decision for our entire family. As the weeks went on with no progress or contractions, I got more and more discouraged and mentally prepared to be induced on the 4th.

Around 8PM on Saturday, November 29 I started leaking a little, and I do mean a little, but by Sunday afternoon I was still dripping. I resorted to Google, and that search unsurprisingly turned up loads of conflicting results: maybe it's amniotic fluid, maybe it's your membranes thinning, maybe you're peeing on yourself, maybe we don't know what it is...  But since I had an appointment scheduled for the next morning I figured whatever it was could wait until then. Besides, that day, Sunday, November 30, was Olivia's 2nd birthday, and we had plans for a fun evening at ICE that I didn't want to taint with a pointless trip to OB triage.

Around 4:00 Sunday afternoon we loaded up the van and headed to the Opryland Hotel with Nonnie to tour the ice palace. On the way there Hannah called and said she and her family were going to be up there as well and invited us to join them for dinner, so after ICE and an indoor train ride we had a big family dinner at Chuy's. We got home around 8:00, shoved a "2" candle in a cupcake, sang "Happy Birthday" to Olivia, and put the kiddos to sleep.
One happy birthday girl
At about 8:30 Caleb and I were settling down to watch some Sunday Night Football in bed. The second I sat down I felt a I little spurt of fluid, so I hopped right back up leaving a small puddle behind. I was pretty sure my water had broken, but two months earlier I had witnessed a friend's water break and it was an immediate and all out gush. Since my leak was much more controlled I wasn't certain that's what this was, not to mention I still wasn't really having any contractions, but I called the on-call doc anyways, and she suggested that I go ahead to the hospital. We called Nonnie to come back over to stay with the kids (she had left only 30 minutes prior), and then we changed the sheets, finished packing our bags, and headed out.

Throughout the drive to the hospital, check in, and triage I still wasn't having any impressive contractions, but about 10 PM they confirmed that, yes, in fact, my bag of waters had ruptured and I was 3 centimeters dilated. Since Olivia's labor was so quick, I predicted this baby would be born about 1 AM. *AHAHAHAHAHA!*  In neither labor with the girls did my water break first, so not only did I have no idea what to expect, I also had only a vague knowledge of the acceptable time limit to avoid infection and restrictions on labor; i.e., no, you can't labor in the tub. Though I predicted that I was going to have another short labor, my non-specific understanding of "how long I had" to deliver this baby had me feeling like I was on the clock the whole time. I was very impatient, and unfortunately that was the driving force behind a lot of my decisions.

As soon as I could, I started walking the halls. I walked and walked and walked and walked, and even the nurses were saying that I was going to walk the baby out. And that was my plan. My contractions had begun to get stronger and more frequent, I had to stop and breathe through many of them, and by about midnight I was 5 cm's. I adjusted my prediction for time of birth to 3 AM, and walked some more. And thankfully at this point we were officially out of the realm of "Olivia and the baby might share a birthday."

By 1 AM I was more uncomfortable, though not unbearably so, so with a bit too much encouragement from my nurse, I decided to go ahead and get the epidural. An epidural was definitely in my birth plan, but in retrospect it was just too soon. I was laboring and progressing fairly well, but I could tell Caleb was getting sleepy and I thought that if I had some pain relief we could both get some sleep and then I would just wake up and push a baby out. AHAHAHA, again.

Let it be known that my first two epidurals were just what I needed. This time... notsomuch. Instead of getting any sleep, my blood pressure kept crashing making me feel like I was going to puke which had the CRNA running in to pump more junk into my IV or to stab me in the leg with epinephrine. It also, for the first time, actually did slow down my labor so that I stayed at 5 cm's for NINE HOURS! (Although the epidural wasn't solely to blame for this. More on that in a minute.)

At 7 AM my OB came to check on me, and after my tearful response to her declaring me still a blasted 5, she started Pitocin. There I sat blessedly numb but impatient and sleep deprived for several more hours, and at 10 AM I was still only a 6. By this time, both I and my new, better than the night shift nurse were o-ver it. We knew the baby had been riding high the whole time, and because he wasn't low enough to put pressure on my cervix, I wasn't dilating. Her theory was that baby was posterior which was keeping him from descending, so at about 11 AM she rolled me into a funky side-lying pretzel position to get him to turn, and within minutes I started to feel pressure. Around that time Caleb's dad popped in to say hi and bring Caleb a soda since progress had heretofore been numbingly slow, but about 11:30 I kicked him out because "I need[ed] to be checked!" Well what do you know? The spinning babies pretzel trick worked, and I was now complete and ready to push. My OB came in about noon, and after three rounds of pushing, our 6 lb, 15 oz little BOY was born at 12:20 PM on December 1.  I had guarded myself by assuming we were having another girl, so Caleb and I were surprised and overjoyed to welcome a son! Adam Dawson, you're the man!



Saturday, August 8, 2015

"It's like you're drowning and then someone hands you a baby."

Jim Gaffigan made the above comment about having his fourth child, but it seems like three kids was my tipping point. In fact, I have actually used the word "drowning" more than once in the last couple months to describe how I feel. As I was recently explaining to someone close to me the challenges of having three children, she asked mostly innocently if I regretted having a third child or if I wished there had been more space between the last two. I understand how this is a legitimate question, but my response was something along the lines of *WTF?! No, I don't regret it and I would do it again in a heart beat and God willing I probably will.* Because the truth is that in all the chaos of the last 4 months (yes, Adam is 8 months old, but the first few months were s m o o t h sailing), I have never once thought, "Oh why did we have another baby?" or "Man I wish we had waited another [pick a number] of months." With each of our children, Caleb and I prayerfully discerned that we were in a place to accept more children if that was God's will, and after several months He took us up on the offer.

Because here's the thing: just because something is HARD doesn't mean it is BAD. So yes, I am overwhelmed and there is an inherent difficulty in raising children (any number of children) in this day and time, but this...
...and this...
are not bad. Not bad at all. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Re-entry

11 months... It had been 11 months since I last posted anything, and then I spouted off with some ridiculous junk about how much I love green tea because coffee makes me sweat. Nothing but the best here y'all.

There's something about summer that makes me want to bear my soul to the masses, or maybe I just need to escape the four walls of our sauna/playroom and it's too damn hot to go outside and I have too many kids and it's too exhausting to actually go anywhere so I escape to the recesses of the blog to do some creative writing. But whatever the momentary reason for writing, I love reading though old posts to see what I got right or what a moron I was or what I STILL HAVEN'T LEARNED. [Exhibit A: for the third year in a row I should get the award for overscheduling summer vacations (2013, 2014, 2015 recap to come).] In the "moron" category, I especially love the story about "empty threats parenting" which I won't even link to because it is too embarrassing but it is already out there and shows me how much I have grown along with my children.

Anyway, after essentially two years of radio silence, I am challenging myself to seven days of posting. I hope to feed my soul by creating something lasting and to provide material for comic relief for my future self. So friends, if you've neglected your blog for while, please join me in the challenge! I love reading your stuff. (I'm cyberstaring at you Layla.)

And because no post is complete without pictures...
From the cutting room floor:
Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A
When did Mia turn 13?